PA to stop getting IDs authorized by Israel, in move that could strand thousands

Measure is part of steps taken by Palestinians to cut cooperation with Israel, in protest at planned annexation of West Bank settlements and Jordan Valley

Palestinian workers wait to cross a checkpoint to work in Israel at the security barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on August 23, 2010. (Najeh Hashlamoun/Flash 90)
Palestinian workers wait to cross a checkpoint to work in Israel at the security barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on August 23, 2010. (Najeh Hashlamoun/Flash 90)

The Palestinian Authority said Friday it will start issuing personal documents for Palestinians without having the papers validated by Israel as in the past.

The move follows PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s announcement last month of an end to all agreements with Israel over its plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

“We are now registering our citizens in our own databases, without sending them to Israel as we did before, according to instructions not to work with Israel on this subject,” Palestinian Authority interior ministry spokesman Ghassan Nimr told AFP.

Under the 1993 Oslo peace accords, the PA has issued identity cards, birth certificates and other documents to the approximately five million residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

But they were only considered valid after endorsement by Israel, which controls all movement in and out of the West Bank and from Gaza through Israeli territory.

“We are working on setting up a new framework based on coordination with the international community to allow us to move freely without the approval of Israel,” said Nimr, without giving details.

The end of coordination with Israel on the issue has not yet had any impact on Palestinian travel due to closure of the borders of Israel and the Palestinian territories due to coronavirus restrictions.

But when crossings are reopened thousands of Palestinians could find themselves unable to enter Israel to work.

Under the coalition deal between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Gantz’s Blue and White, the premier can begin moving forward on July 1 with annexing West Bank territories set aside for Israel under the Trump peace plan.

The Palestinian Authority announced last month that it was cutting ties with Israel, ending security coordination and refusing to accept tax transfers from Israel to protest the annexation plans.

The Palestinians, who have rejected Trump’s plan out of hand, on Tuesday said they had presented a counter-proposal for the creation of a “sovereign Palestinian state, independent and demilitarized” to the Quartet, made up of the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia.

Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report

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